Hurricane Maria

Southeast, Midwest and Puerto Rico wait for federal disaster relief

A woman in a white tank top walks down the middle of a dirt road with cars on either side.
A woman walks on a road in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, in 2017. Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images

Puerto Rico policy officials are unsure if or when more federal disaster relief funding will come to the island, as Congress entered recess this week without reaching an agreement on any additional spending to send natural disaster relief to the Midwest and Puerto Rico, NBC reports.

The bottom line: Americans in Puerto Rico and across the country are affected by the stalemate between Congress and the White House, from "farmers in the Southeast who are still grappling with large crop losses from Hurricane Michael last October ... to officials in small-town Iowa and Missouri who are still bailing out from some of the worst floods in recent memory," the New York Times reports.

Democrats derail Senate disaster relief bill amid clash over Puerto Rico

Two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico in 2017.
Two weeks after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico in 2017. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a key vote on a $13.5 billion disaster-recovery funding measure amid an escalating fallout over hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.

Details: The massive bill passed by the House in January would allocate funding to states like Florida and North Carolina, which were hit last year by hurricanes. Senate Republicans have also added funds for victims in the Midwest affected by flooding last month. But Democrats argue that the $600 million for nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico under the bill is insufficient, and that the island is in urgent need of more funds for disaster relief and to rebuild its water system.